Furries are people who have anthropomorphic animal avatars. They draw or commission pictures of their avatars and many dress up as their avatars. Even in the weird wide universe of geekdom they’re sometimes mocked or regarded with suspicion which I don’t understand. I’m not going to stand in the way of anyone’s fursuit of happiness. There was even a really happy story back in March 2016 of Syrian refugees placed at a hotel that was also hosting a furry convention, bringing together two groups that are often subject to unreasonable prejudice.
Anyway I was listening to an interview with Lisa Hanawalt on the Bullseye podcast and was surprised to hear her describe herself as a “furry”. Hanawalt designed the anthropomorphic animal creatures for Bojack Horseman and also wrote a book called The Hot Dog Taste Test which I really, really, really recommend. It’s a collection of illustrated essays more or less connected to food and it’s smart and funny and while the picture of Hanawalt with her family watching Blade II dubbed in Spanish is fantastic, but that’s another story. What surprised me about her describing herself as a furry is in the book she draws herself pretty realistically, never as an animal, but then her drawings of herself and others are still, in the traditional sense of the word, avatars. They are representative, not necessarily idealized but not exactly warts and all either.
And that got me thinking about how we all have a version of ourselves in our imaginations that may or may not match up with how others see us. If we’re uncomfortable with ourselves it’s not necessarily about who we really are but because we don’t like that image of ourselves. Similarly if we’re unhappy with the world around us it’s because it doesn’t match what we want it to be. If we are happy with ourselves and the world around us it’s, hopefully, because how we imagine ourselves and the world matches the way we think it should be.
So what’s your avatar?
My avatar depends on the day. Some days it’s a timid baby bunny. On others its a royally pissed off Godzilla. Motha makes an occasional appearance as does Ripley, Mae West and a calico cat. Avatars — I got a million of ’em.
That is a fantastic way to look at it–thank you. I think many of us, maybe even most of us, have various avatars that we move through depending on our mood. That’s one of the benefits of an avatar. It’s not something we have to be stuck with.
i aspire to be charles williams’s fool, but i also recognise myself as the bird nesting atop the tree riding a bicycle on my friend steven’s right arm.
As Charles Williams knew there are few so wise as The Fool.
My avatar is a tiger wearing fashionable glasses, Chris. This tiger loves your “fursuit of happiness.”
I’m very glad to have earned the approval of the tiger, and am in awe of your avatar’s fashion sense.
My avatar is me holding a glass of wine. My inner avatar though is me dressed like a very glam rock star. But no one else knows that. It was always my secret dream but unfortunately I’m not a very good singer!
One of the benefits of avatars is you can make yours anything–even a terrific singer. And you might find that much wine will even improve your singing.